"Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?"
In today's gospel we are given the images of a shepherd seeking out a solitary lost sheep and of a woman searching the house for a lost coin.
Given by Jesus in response to criticism of his mixing with 'sinners', these images present him as valuing every person to such an extent that he will seek them out when they are lost.
Every single person on this planet is of incomparable worth because they are valued by God. As Christians, we have to believe that about others - we cannot sign up for any way of thinking about, or acting towards, people which sees them as dispensable, in the cause of 'the Economy', 'the greater good', 'the Nation' or whatever.
But we also have to believe it about ourselves, which can sometimes be difficult. We are loved by God, we are valuable, we are worthwhile. Whatever others, the world around us, or we ourselves might try to say about us, nothing can change that. And nothing we do, nothing we are, can separate us from the love of God in Christ. Jesus, who seeks out the lost sheep, is always there to welcome us home - a reality we celebrate in the sacrament of confession.